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intellectual property

patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Federal and state laws protect intellectual property rights from misappropration and infringement

trade secret

a product formula, pattern, design, compilation of data, customer list, or other business secret

economic espionage act

a federal statue that makes it a crime for any person to convert a trade secret for his or her own or another's benefit, knowing or intending to cause injury to the owners of the trade secret

federal patent statute

a federal statute that establishes the requirements for obtaining a patent and protects patented inventions from infringement


a grant by the federal government upon the inventor of an invention for the exclusive right to use, sell, or license the invention for a limited amount of time

US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

a special federal appeals court that hears appeals from the board of patent appeals and interferences and federal court concerning patent issues

utility patent

a patent that protects the functionality of an invention

subject matter that can be patented

machines, processes, compositions of matter,
improvements to existing machines, processes, or compositions of matter,
designs for an article of manufacture, asexually reproduces plants, living material invented by a person

requirements for obtaining a patent

novel, useful, nonobvious


an invention that is new and has not been invented and used in the past


an invention that has practical purpose
-cannot be patented if it has theoretical benefit


an invention that is not obvious

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